Salamanders at Last!

I’ve been flipping rocks and logs since early February looking for salamanders without success. Today my luck changed. During my lunch break, I walked trail along the spring branch at Watercress and hit paydirt just across the footbridge.

There was a long, 4″ diameter log lying in the edge of the water and underneath was a Long-Tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda longicauda)

and 50 feet further downstream, rolling the remains of an old stump revealed a Dark-Sided Salamander (Eurycea longicauda melanopleura.)

These two sub-species intergrade in this area and the individual in the first photo looks like an intermediate specimen to me – too dark for a true long-tailed, but not dark enough for a dark-sided. Coincidentally, I found another dark-sided salamander under the same stump, three years ago.

After work, really thinking salamanders after finding two at lunch, I went down towards my wet weather creek and started turning things over again. It took about twenty minutes before I found anything, but finally moving a dead white oak limb revealed a Southern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon serratus.)

After moving the leaf covering his tail, it looks as if his tail has been damaged and is healing.

So, after weeks of not finding a salamander (other than the numerous newts in the pond,) I find three gorgeous ones the same day. Knowing my luck, that’ll be it for a good while.

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